The documents released in the media indicate that Ghani’s term of office has been extended until 22, October 2019, which will be time when the presidential election is scheduled to take place.
Based on the decision of the Supreme Court in this matter, which was released by Ariana News, The Supreme Court, for various reasons including the delay in presidential elections and record of extension of the term of office of the president in 2009, extended the term of president until the presidential elections are held.
Why it matters: The judicial review of the Supreme Court regarding the extension of president Ghani’s term for four months till conduction the presidential election, legitimizes the continuation of president Ghani in office.
Background: In recent months, and after delay of the presidential election dates, president Ghani has been severely pressurized by his political opponents. The opponents have suggested and put forward plans, including setup of an Interim-government after May 22 (First of Jawza), which is constitutionally sourcing as to when the term president Ghani comes to an end.
These pressures have mounted in recent weeks, and even the 11 Afghan presidential candidates in joint statements have questioned the legitimacy of the president after May 22 (First Jawza) of current year and suggested alternative plans for transferring power from him.
Current Status quo: So far, the political circles and the opposition have not responded to documents released in the media about the extension of the term of office of the president by the Supreme Court.
But prior to this, in response to a statement by a spokesman for the president which said that “previous governments had the same problem and they had solved it through referring to constitutional interpretation,” several election opponents of president Ghani once more stressed on their stand that Ashraf Ghani should leave office on May 22 (First Jawza). They have made it clear that they shall consider the continuation of president’s term illegal and illegitimate.
11 Afghan presidential candidates have stated that “according to obtained information and documents, ARG, presidential palace is attempting extension of the presidential term until the elections by exerting pressure on the Supreme Court. This extension would be a clear violation and putting harm to the dignity and independence of an independent judiciary of the country”.
The bottom line: While the Supreme Court’s positive judicial review about continuation of current presidential palace term seems to indicate the end of the political controversy over this issue, but it appears that the step taken by presidential palace and Supreme Court increases the persistence of controversy between the president and his opposition. The opposition has mostly been established and organized in a circle of electoral teams, and this race has entered a new phase. Soaring tensions and controversies could set the scenario for a major political stalemate over the president’s term period in the next month or so.
Ahmad Shah Karimi contributed reporting.